Bill Facilitates Timely Access to Mental Health Care

Rep Carfagna 2

COLUMBUS-State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Scott Ryan (R-Newark) applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation that would allow certain advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to have an individual involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health evaluation in the event of an emergency and if they are a danger to themselves or others. The bill works to provide faster and more efficient care during these mental health emergencies.

House Bill 111 allows an APRN with a psychiatric sub-specialty to have an individual hospitalized if the nurse reasonably suspects that the individual could be a risk to self or others. A mental health professional must perform an evaluation within 24 hours of a patient’s admittance to the care facility, and at the end of this 24-hour period, the individual must be released unless it is recommended following a full mental health exam or a court order that they should be detained.

“I’m extremely grateful to Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and the entire Ohio House membership for their affirmative vote on HB 111 and for understanding the importance of this legislation,” Carfagna said. “I’m eager to see the Ohio Senate take up this bill, and hope they’ll likewise work quickly to empower these highly-trained nurses to intervene in mental health emergencies.”

In Ohio, there are approximately 700 APRNs with a psychiatric subspecialty, according to committee testimony. To become qualified, an RN must receive a graduate degree in a nursing specialty or related field. The nurse must then sit for a national certification examination, and obtain a Certificate of Authority from Ohio. This certificate must be reviewed biennially with a continuing education requirement.

This bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support last general assembly when it was sponsored by former State Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl. However, it did not receive a full Senate vote. Following last week’s House passage, it now returns to the Senate for further consideration.